Comparing Tension and Conflict in Things Fall Apart and Clear Light of Day

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Tension and Conflict in Things Fall Apart and Clear Light of Day How does the tension between traditional and modern views of the world play itself out in Achebe's "Things Fall Apart", and Desai's "Clear Light of Day"? In both Achebe's and Desai's novels, tension and conflict between the new and the old, traditional and modern are the strong undercurrents that move the story and the reader into an unconscious emotional uneasiness. In both novels, the backdrop and the story are engrossed in a struggle between two worlds, the new and the old fighting out its battles in the characters portrayed within. Achebe makes his stand in eastern Nigeria while Desai illustrates her point in Old Delhi. In the first part of "Things Fall Apart", Achebe, portrays a traditional African culture, but one on the verge of change. Early in the novel you can see change is already taking place. "...in the past a man who broke the peace was dragged on the ground throughout the village until he died. But after a while this custom was stopped because it spoiled the peace which it was meant to preserve." But traditions continued on, including ritual killing and banishment of one of the village leaders. But then things begin to change more rapidly with the coming of the missionaries. When they gave them the "evil forest" to build their churches on there was no turning back. Many of the abused and outcast were converted when they saw that these new people prospered in the evil lands. The people started to revolt against their traditional gods. "Three converts had gone into the village and boasted openly that... ... middle of paper ... ...k after... But even this simple act has its overtones, "...she has always liked to rule others..." In both of these novels the main characters have to be strong to deal with the tides between tradition and modern culture. Their lives are not easy, but while reading about them, maybe we can make it easier for others to live in our world and understand those who do not wish to make the journey of "progress". Failing that, maybe we can at least understand our own journey through this jumble we call life. Works Cited and Consulted Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1986. Desai, Anita. The Clear Light of Day London: Penguin, 1990 Taiwo, Oladele. Culture and the Nigerian Novel. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976.

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